US Army uses Android Smartphone for Soldiers

US army had been looking to equip their soldiers with smartphones designed to integrate the team with a powerful custom interface.  And for them, the Droid does prove out to be the solution.

So far, tech nonprofit MITRE has made a lot of progress on the project and the prototype is ready under the name ” the Joint Battle Command-Platform”. It is now under some testing in the simulated battelfields, before it steps into the real army battlefields. The SDK used to develop apps for the Joint battle command platform is called the Mobile/Handheld Computing Environment, and army would releasing the sdk in June 2011 for app developers.

There will be lots of different apps that would empower the soldiers in the fields. There would be app that would provide mapping function that displays location and movements of all the soldiers and help them communicate the strategy better (Blue Force Tracker program). There will be some cloud to phone data exchange rebranded as “Critical messaging” to exchange crucial data like medevac requests and on the ground reporting.

“I was just shown a quick, little, five-minute brief on it – that’s all it took and we were ready to use them,” said Spc. Randy Fite, who like Bui experimented with the JBC-P Handheld prototype during a recent training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C. He said the app’s blue icons indicating the GPS locations of his fellow Soldiers helped them navigate and coordinate actions during the capture.
“We can know where each unit is in our platoon, and how they’re moving,” Fite said. “It makes the job a lot easier.”

The army would face lots of challenges especially for areas with low or no signal coverage, which is something very common for battlefields.  Also, the army has high hopes on designing a phone hardware that is rugged enough to withstand wears and tears of all sorts.

This android based tablet/smartphone platform would help them phase out the current generation communication system: Nett Warrior – a suite of sensors, other functions which smartphones do much more easily. The complete system of Joint battle command platform would weigh less than 2 pounds, making it way better than Nett warrior.

Army’s aim is to build a core framework that can run on a large number of hardwares and form factors, obviously Android is the best (and only?) option they could have thought about. iOS is way too restrictive as per the officials, among which there are several iPhone lovers.

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